170826_Philly_Quotes

ATL vs PHI | Post-match Quotes

Atlanta United FC head coach Gerardo Martino

On the result…

It was valuable, especially since we started the game down 2-0, but we never stopped going for it, we never stopped trying to get the goal. It is true that we were not precise at times, but even when the team went down to ten men we kept fighting for it and I think we deserved the draw.

On the decision to put in Jacob Peterson…

We put in Jacob (Peterson) because we felt like we needed someone to open up the play, so not just someone who was good in the air, but better on the wing, so we put Jacob to have on the wing and also someone in the middle. For me, Jacob is more of a true winger than Brandon (Vazquez).

On the decision to put in Tyrone Mears…

Because Anton (Walkes) is a natural center back, so we felt with them having ten men that it was better to put in Mears who is more a natural rightback to give more chances.

On the team’s knack to score in the last minutes of matches…

You cannot always choose when you score goals, so the good news for us in that the guys are at least fighting, they are fighting all game. In the game against DC, Josef (Martinez) had a chance right at the end. The positive thing for us is that guys are trying to score the entire game.

Atlanta United FC defender Tyrone Mears

On being brought in…

I always have to be ready. It has been tough being on the bench, but I got the call to come on tonight. The coach told me to go forward and that is what I tried to do.

On his goal…

I crossed it to come over to Greg (Garza), he crossed it, I think the keeper touched it and I saw the keeper come out and I just tried to lob it over him. Obviously, it went really well, so I am happy with that.

On  if he was trying to score…

No, the keeper came out, so I was trying to put it back over.

On what the team needs to work on over the break…

We have to get together. I know there are a few guys that are going to go on International break, but we just have to stick together. A few guys looked tired today, so maybe a little bit of a rest, getting the energy right. We go again for a big month.

On if the team looks tired with upcoming matches…

No, not really because I think we have a good enough squad to cope with that.

Atlanta United FC midfielder Chris McCann

On his first league start since March…

I was a little bit rusty in the first half, and as you can imagine, not playing for quite a while it is going to take me to get the grips. Second half, the game kind of evened out a little bit more, a lot more spacing, change that allowed me to get on the ball a little bit more.

On scoring at the end of matches…

It just shows how mentally tough we are that for 90 minutes we keep going and teams will take note of that. We are a fit bunch, so for us to go the 90 minutes shows we are never going to stop until we get what we want to achieve.  I think like you said, we have scored quite a lot of goals in the last few minutes and that just shows good fitness level and we are outlasting teams until the last minute.

On the final goal…

It was a great header, I do not think there are many of them, so I am delighted for Ty (Tyrone Mears), it was a great header. It was a crucial goal for us and as you said it could be a valuable point for us come the end of the season.

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement…

Obviously, I'm devastated for the guys in that locker room. It's not about the playoff race or results that went our way tonight or different things like that. It's about a group of guys, in this case 10 guys when they finished the game, that deserved to close it out and win. They put so much into it. They bounced back after taking a beating in Toronto with a strong mentality to get to two goals against a strong Atlanta team. To play down a man for as long as we did and to limit them, really, and not have [Andre Blake] have to make too many saves was a real positive for the group and I'm just kind of gutted for them. You know, you don't prepare for Tyrone Mears to score a fluky head ball from almost outside the box, it was just a strange goal. And again, very difficult for the guys and we have some time off now, unfortunate not to get three points.

On the feeling after giving up two late leads to result in draws in the past week…

Two different games, obviously, and different situations that caused the scenarios that come up so, again, we play down a man for roughly 30-plus minutes, which is a challenging exercise for the group against, again, a very dynamic Atlanta team. It's not for lack of effort, the guys leave everything on the field, they break up plays, they do everything they possibly can. Are there little instances where, yeah, they literally cross a ball, mishit it, and it goes from one sideline to the other sideline and somehow stays inbounds, goes back across, Dre comes for it, punches it, and it, again, bounces to a right back who heads a ball in, a glancing header from a strange position on the field for him to be in. Yeah, it feels bad, but to put the two together, I think they are just different scenarios. Obviously it's tough to really put a finger on what really went wrong.

On what's the message to Josh Yaro after receiving a red card…

Josh was doing a good job I thought prior to the red card decision that was made. Again, we win as a team, we lose as a team, we draw as a team, so again it's an opportunity for him to learn from it. The kid [Josef] Martinez can run, I think Josh knew that and saw that and made a decision that maybe wasn't the right choice, but at the same time it's a quick reaction and the centerback position is a tough one. So again, the big moments, the moments now where there are split second decisions that happen and again, he's a guy who missed a big chunk of the preseason and missed a bunch of time, so he's not as up to speed as the other guys are. So again, he's done a good job for us but it's still now a learning moment for him. Maybe you live to fight another day and let him go one-v-one against Dre who, again, was coming off his line. You play the percentages and maybe Martinez makes a mistake or Andre makes a big save for us and you stay on the field. He'll learn from it, again, but there's still three or four other things that could've happened on that play that don't lead to the through ball that put Josh in a bad situation.

On whether or not the team can afford to let Josh keep playing and not put anyone back there…

You have to. He's a good young player and, again, with young players there's always going to be a learning curve, so he has to continue to go out on the field. We believe in him. He's a guy who is a young center back and still, he's devastated right now, of course. He feels like he's let the team down and that's a hard thing to go through. We all feel for him, but we are again a team that will stick together and, again, the group, I can't fault any of their effort because no matter who's on the field, no matter how difficult the situation, the travel, the tough loss against Toronto, these guys roll up their sleeves and they give everything. Again, it was a tough night, but yeah, Josh will continue to play. He's a young player that we believe in and a guy that will only learn and get better form these kind of moments, as difficult as they are.

On getting Keegan Rosenberry back in the lineup for a full game…

Yeah, I thought he did a really good job and again, when you're down a man against a talented team, it puts that back four, it puts the whole team, the whole group, the 4-4-1 that we dropped into, into making a lot of plays and Keegan was very proactive on the night, was aggressive with his defending, made early decisions with the ball, connected his passes, so overall a really strong performance from him. Very happy with him after some time off, a lay off, to bounce back with a game like was important, but it's also, again, something that we know that he's capable of and we'll want to see more of. It's good.

On what he sees in Alejandro Bedoya that makes him so valuable to the team's success…

I mean, he embodies what we want at this club. He's a guy who's brave; you see the play where he blocks three balls in a row. He'll run through a wall for you, he'll score a goal, he'll do all the little work, he'll go out, when we are in our 4-4-1 and Fafa [Picault] gets gassed, he'll go out there and run his tail off. Again, you can't say enough good things about Ale and what he means for the club and, again, you're gutted for him. We look at each other in the hallway there and there's not a lot we can say to each other because he emptied his tank, he gave everything, and he's a true leader. I think he's grown into that role and wearing the captain's armband has been good, but yeah. It's devastating then when, we don't close out San Jose and [Atlanta], what could be, you know, instead of two points, six points that I think that our guys earned, but we made mistakes and now we have to grow and learn from it, but Ale's been excellent. A guy that, again, embodies what we see in a Philadelphia Union player.

Philadelphia union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya

On what this result feels like and how it compares to how it felt in San Jose…

It feels like crap. Honestly, it's so frustrating, I mean, sometimes you just a little bit of luck your way I guess, you know? That's what this game is about sometimes and, right now, we're not getting any breaks really. I mean, that's twice then now that, the last minute, they tie the game on us. Could've been six points, six crucial points, right there. Instead, it’s only two and it's disheartening, you know, really. It's frustrating. I thought the guys today really, you know, rolled up their socks and sleeves and put the grit in that we've been talking about that we need, you know, and a little bit more aggressiveness and intensity. I think the ref lost a little bit of control right away, right from the beginning of the game unfortunately, but, you know, what can I say? It sucks. This feeling sucks.

On what to say to someone young like Josh Yaro about his costly mistakes…

He's young, you know, that's a little bit of inexperience maybe and it's tough luck, you know? I think the one against San Jose he's just, you know, it's one of those things. It's late, you know, you're not as sharp anymore and, you know, it's was an unnecessary kick and now it's not up to him, you know? We talk about being compact and not letting those balls go in between our lines. Atlanta is a good team but that ball in behind, it can't happen that easy. He'll learn from his mistakes, he's still young, he's got a great future, so I just tell him, "Just keep your head up, keep going, just got to learn from your mistakes and just grow."

On the positives from playing so well for so long while down a man…

They didn't do anything in the second half. They didn't create anything. They had nothing. We stayed in our block and they didn't really do anything. They're a great team, this is their first year, they have some great players, but they couldn't get through us. Such a shame, they get a little balance, you know, Dre comes out, I was at the back post and I thought it was going to go over him, past him, so I was ready to go to the right and then he came to my left and the guy just, you know, like I said, you got to get a lucky break. It's a diving header from the top of the box and it goes over, but they didn't have anything, they didn't create anything and, if there's one positive takeaway from this game, it's that, you know, and I hope that we are able to keep our spirits high and continue and try to finish this season off on a good positive note.

On fighting the urge to press too much when things aren't falling the Union's way…

Yeah, I mean, as I've said it with this league though, the quality has grown but, tactically, the league is not great so, you know, when you see a center midfielder stepping up and putting pressure, that just means your lines got to step up and, at times in the season, I don't think we've done a good enough job of stepping up the lines, so, you know, I'm the captain, so as a leader, vocally it's one thing and the other thing is having my energy on the field and trying to get the guys to feed off of that, so, I mean, yeah. We've got to find the right balance, of course, but I thought I was trying to empty my tank towards the end to get the guys, give some guys some energy to close out the game. I mean, we weren't able to do that, like I said, we're not catching these lucky breaks that teams need to catch sometimes and, fortunately, another tie game at the end of the game.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Fafa Picault

On the emotional ending…

It’s frustrating. There’s no other word but that to describe it … it’s just unfortunate, because we had a very good game, went up 2-0 on them. TO give away that last goal in the last few minutes is just really unfortunate.

On the response to the red card…

We just stayed together. I think we did a great job. Credit to the group, every single one of them. We stuck together, we defended well, we wasted our lungs, legs, we gave everything we could playing a man down. If you watch the game, I don’t think it even seemed like it most times. I think we did a good job. It’s just, again, unfortunate, the end result.

Philadelphia Union defender Keegan Rosenberry

On getting the start…

It’s good. That’s what I’ve been working for ever since I got taken off the field. It’s good to get my feet wet again. That’s what every player strives for, is to [play] and to be selected for the XI. Disappointing result, of course, but I thought the team battled well and deserved better.

On being active in the final third…

That’s what the team asks of the outside back position. It’s always something that I put pride in. When the actual statistics come from it, it’s exciting. It doesn’t happen every time, and that’s not a good way to look at it, but I was happy to be involved in the final third a little bit and create something.

On the feeling when Atlanta scored the equalizer…

It’s deflating, to be honest. I think the team defends really well a man down for almost 40 minutes. It’s one thing if they break us down and there’s a lack of concentration or it’s us badly defending, but it’s another thing if we get to the 90th minute and it seems like a little bit of a lucky goal and an unlucky bounce for us. Like I said, very disappointing. I thought the team worked and deserved a lot better at the end of it.

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